What Is Spirituality? Part II: My JourneyAugust 28, 2017
In my last Mindful Monday blog post I asked the question “What is Spirituality?”, and discussed my thoughts on what that word means to me. Today, I would like to share with you my personal journey to Spirituality, since my path has shaped my views and beliefs and has led me to where I am today. If you feel inspired, I invite you to share your own journey to Spirituality in the comments below–I would love to hear it!
So, how does my story begin? Well, I have the (slightly cynical) belief that everyone comes to Spirituality through some form of pain. If you haven’t, please let me know because you are quite the enigma! You might be thinking I’m somewhat of a Debbie Downer for having this opinion, but just hear me out a moment and I’ll explain my point of view.
My journey is unique in that I grew up with two parents who have been instilling Spirituality in my sister and I ever since I can remember. Many times, our family dinner conversations were philosophical discussions about the deeper meaning of life, living in the present moment, and the power of meditation. Although I didn’t have a personal Spiritual practice as a child and I didn’t particularly identify with Spirituality, I was receptive to these ideas and this experience primed me to embrace my own Spiritual path later down the road when I was ready for it. I believed in the idea of Spirituality in an intellectual way, and saw the benefits of meditation firsthand with both of my parents. However, besides meditating before the SAT’s and on a few other occasions here and there, I didn’t have a solid practice– I needed to find a Spirituality that resonated with me, and to discover it for myself. And, I discovered it through my own form of pain.
During my teenage years, I was always in-and-out of a state of depression. And by depression, I mean I was sad for no known reason; I had an amazing family, wonderful friends, and a really great life, but my mind was constantly at war with itself. I knew I should be “living in the moment” and how important it was to love oneself, but no matter how hard I tried to alter my negative thought patterns, I just couldn’t. My level of happiness was strongly influenced by superficial things and although I recognized that I was letting external circumstances determine my internal well-being, I simply wasn’t capable of implementing change.
It was not until my Junior Year as an undergrad at the University of Florida that I was actually able to begin to apply what I had learned growing up on a daily basis. One fateful day, my best friend came home with a flyer for a Mindful Living course and thought I might be interested in it, given that I frequently talked about Spirituality and meditation (albeit in a conceptual way). At this time in my life I was really needing for something, and was finally ready to explore my own Spiritual identity. Reflecting back, I am so grateful that my parents did not thrust it upon me earlier, because this allowed me to find Spirituality on my own during a time of need.
Taking this college course was completely transformative, and something inside me clicked. My outlook on life and understanding of true happiness had shifted. I realized that my life was like a jigsaw puzzle; all the pieces were there, I just hadn’t figured out how to make them fit together. However, as I was learning and growing and putting the pieces of my puzzle together, I soon found that there was a roadblock on my emerging path: how to reconcile my professional goals and my Spiritual beliefs.
As a young girl, I was motivated by financial success and my life’s goal was to make a lot of money. As a result, my true purpose remained unrecognized. My passion has always been to help people and to make a difference in others’ lives, but as a college student my desire for financial success took priority and I chose to major in Finance.
In the fall of my Senior year, after recently discovering my Spiritual identity, I struggled with the decision to accept an extremely lucrative job offer as a Private Banking Analyst at J.P. Morgan. Through meditation and introspection, I came to realize that there is more to life than making a lot of money and working 80-hour weeks. I wanted to choose passion over profit. Although declining an incredible job offer from J.P. Morgan was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, it led me to pursue a path of purpose and meaning. However, as a 21-year-old Senior in college, I did not have a backup plan, and had a quarter life crisis as I agonized over what I was going to do with my life. I contemplated continuing my education in some way related to nutrition, or psychology, but I just couldn’t envision myself jumping into more schooling at the time. During a phone call with my father he asked me:
“If money was no object and you could do anything in the world, what would it be?”
Without hesitation, I blurted out that I would open a Spirituality center. This was the first time that I’d ever entertained this idea of mixing my passion for spirituality with my career, and do not know where it came from. Nonetheless, it felt right. I did not know how I was going to enter this industry, but I knew the answers would come to me and everything would fall into place if I simply trusted the universe. Low and behold that is exactly what happened, and little did I know, one of the most pivotal moments in my life was about to take place.
During a meditation, it came to me that I needed to reach out to the founder of Canyon Ranch, a premier Health and Wellness Resort. I did not know his name, had never been to Canyon Ranch, and I only knew of it as a spa where some of my girlfriends would go with their mothers to recharge. I had no idea that it had offerings in Spirituality, which is what made the situation even more serendipitous. After figuring out the founder’s name, Mel Zuckerman, I searched tirelessly online for his contact information, but it was nowhere to be found. Right when I was about to give up, I stumbled upon his e-mail address on a former employee’s reference letter (yes, I know, I was really determined). Excited and inspired, I reached out to him simply asking for guidance on how to enter the Health and Wellness industry. To my surprise he responded within minutes, and it turned out that this conversation would not only be the first of many, but it was the start of a mentorship, a partnership, a career, and one of the greatest opportunities of my life.
Choosing to follow my passion created a domino effect of transformative experiences in my life, and allowed for my Spiritual path to naturally unfold. My most pivotal and magnificent experiences have occurred during periods of deep Spiritual connection. These moments ebb and flow, and I have found that at times when I am engaged in my practice and really embodying it, I have received the biggest benefits and the most guidance. Every single major life decision I have made since stumbling upon Spirituality has come from something greater than myself: being led to Canyon Ranch from a meditation, deciding to travel to Bali through a series of synchronicities (a blog post for another day!), pursuing a Master’s in Spiritual Psychology from Columbia University, and finally, being called to start my own business. These are the four pivotal moments of my life thus far, and I made these decisions not from rational thought, but from a deep sense of knowing and trust in the Source that brought this information to me–that’s the beauty of the Spiritual path.
Love & Light,